For nearly 60 years, Outdoor School has provided high-quality, place-based science education to generations of Oregon students. Launched in 1957, Outdoor School is an Oregon tradition and rite of passage that has enriched and inspired over one million Oregonians. Today, Outdoor School remains true to its roots, engaging thousands of students with nature, using hands-on field science to teach them about Oregon’s natural resources.
However, due to decades of education funding challenges, Outdoor School has moved from being a tradition of middle school excellence to a disappearing opportunity—either not available, or only in a diminished version—for most students.
In August 2015, MG and key partners completed the first phase of work building public will to support Outdoor School and establishing the Oregon Outdoor Education Coalition. Together, the team has taken the first critical steps in creating and securing a statewide outdoor school program. The OOEC expanded its broad and diverse steering committee; launched the Outdoor School for All project; built a grassroots base of support; held public outreach meetings across the state; and created regional hubs and a statewide network of more than a thousand activists.
With the help of this extensive grassroots network, the OOEC successfully passed legislation (SB 439) that established, for the first time, a statewide policy framework for outdoor school. Since its inception, MG has assisted the OOEC in securing over $1.3 million in grants, in-kind support and pledges. Now, OOEC has become the Outdoor School for All project that recently won a statewide ballot measure guaranteeing all kids in Oregon will have the chance to experience this incredible program.